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Letter: Don't leave hockey out of facility survey

I am writing in regard to the survey sent out asking for input on a new athletics facility for the city of Worthington, including Independent School District 518, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, and Worthington Convention and Visitors Bureau. I was happy to have been given the opportunity to provide input into this subject through the survey distributed to Worthington residents. I am a strong supporter of pulling together all entities from our city to build a quality, functional and well-used athletic facility.

The only concern I have is that there is no mention of improvement for our hockey facility in the master plan, or, including a hockey facility in the master plan for a completely new athletic facility. There is no doubt that a new athletic facility in Worthington will draw teams and people to our town, bringing business to all areas, including shopping, dining and overnight stays.

Let me give you a little bit of information on Worthington hockey.

l The Worthington Hockey Association can have up to four tournaments a year. These tournaments can have up to six teams playing on one weekend. One of our yearly tournaments, the Mite Jamboree, brings in 19 different teams. These teams usually consist of 10-15 players with their family members attending. Also, in any given year, depending on the type of facility needed, Worthington has been asked to host district tournament play at a variety of levels. Unfortunately, this past year our city was passed up and district play was awarded to another city that had an updated and more modern facility.

l The Worthington Hockey Association had 112 kids participating this past year from the Mite level through varsity.

l The commitment of Worthington hockey families is quite impressive. The season begins in November and ends in mid-March.

l Hockey has been a part of the Worthington community since the mid-1920s.

Not only is our arena filled to the brim with hockey, but open skate brings a large number of children from our community out to the rink during the winter for good, quality fun and socializing. The figure skating program also takes place at the arena.

I truly feel that we are doing our community a great disservice by not including an ice rink in the master plan for our sporting facilities. Do the math. Compare the numbers. Worthington hockey draws a large number of people to our great city. Since we have hired people to plan and do research for this athletic facility, let's not cut corners. I have no doubt these researchers will be pleasantly surprised to see the potential a new ice rink has for the city of Worthington. Let's do it right the first time.